Friday, January 4, 2013

Sports Illustrated Football: Defense by Bud Wilkinson

This is, of course, the companion volume to Wilkinson's book on Offense, and I must say that I found far more points in this book that helped me to understand football better than before. In fact, I was watching one of the bowl games and pointed out to my wife one of the things that the defense "keys" on to decide how to counter an offensive play. One would think, though, that experienced camera people would know about this, too, and wouldn't end up filming a spot on the field where nothing important was happening so often, but...I suppose not.

"...(linebackers and secondary men) must 'read' or 'key' as the ball is snapped. These terms mean watching one or two offensive players whose movement at the start of the play usually indicates the type of play to be run...
1) Offensive linemen downfield means the play is a run.
2) Offensive linemen pulling out either ot the left or right indicates that the play is going in that direction.
3) Offensive linemen drop-stepping back to execute a pass-protection block indicates that the play will be a pass."

On avoiding being "juked" or faked out,

"Most running backs have excellent balance and an uncanny ability to fake with their head, eyes, shoulders, arms and even legs. But it is difficult to fake with the belt buckle. Even O.J. Simpson will be where his belt buckle is."

Is his belt buckle in the slammer these days?

One of those things that seems obvious, but which I often hear from color commentators before the game,

"It is one of football's truisms that the team controlling the line of scrimmage wins the game."

On the topic of "swarming to the ball" which seems to be a sign of an effective defense,

"It is an essential of team defense that all linebackers (and linemen) pursue the ball when it is in the air, regardless of their distance from it. If they stop their pursuit, they become mere spectators."

I have this problem in racquetball some days.

I'm definitely going to see if I can find some more recent books by Wilkerson - they're making me a far better "consumer" of football. Unfortunately, the season is almost over...long time to wait for the next.

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